August 22, 2010


When it looks like this in Albuquerque….with dust suspended in the air all day, it’s a highly reliable indicator that spring is on the way. There was so much dust in the air this morning, you could look directly at the sun as it broke the horizon.

Winter (statistically mild by Albuquerque standards) seems to be on the way out of Windhoek and temperatures are warming.

Back when it was really winter on July 11 – the night of the World Cup Finals – a cold front came barreling north to Namibia from Antarctica. This is how we fended off the cold wind that roared down the breezeway to (actually through) our front door.

Although stuffing the door frame with newspaper kept most of the gale outside the door, because the flat isn’t heated and none of the windows seal, it was a cool, cool, night. Our flat came with an electric radiator but the darn thing is so underpowered that you can only feel the warmth ¼ inch away from it. While it made us feel better to have it on; the red lights are cheerful and looked warming,

it did little to warm the place. Most winter days were warm but the nights were decidedly cool.

At about 4PM on any given day, Windhoek begins to cool as surely as if someone threw a switch. In the winter, you want to be sure all the windows are closed as securely as possible by 4PM, because with sundown shortly after 5PM, there is a long stretch of cold temperatures in the flat until sun rise. Winter days were always sunny so it warmed up nicely throughout the day. The professor would leave for his office each morning in his light winter jacket, shed it completely by noon, but have to put it back on again for the walk home around 5PM or so. It’s funny though, bougainvilleas have been in bloom throughout the winter here. It rarely dips below freezing so I guess that’s okay for these tropical beauties.

Now that spring is closing in, the days are getting much warmer and the nights not so cool. I seem to have the same allergic reaction to Namibian spring as I do to New Mexican spring with sneezing, laryngitis, and a cough. But it didn’t stop me from finding a garden center today to look at plants and dream of spring.

This is one big garden center, complete with a cafĂ© under tall trees. It went on and on with giant displays of drought resistant plants, some tender annual flowers and a very large sign that read, “Big delivery of fresh plants due Monday, August 23, 2010 at 8AM”. That’s as good an indicator of spring as you’d ever want.